Saints and Sinners
A Conversation with Richard Payne
About the Event
Join us for a conversation with University of Chicago Associate Professor Richard Payne exploring the saints and sinners who influenced Christianity in the Middle East. Together, we will explore the dialectical relationship of these two groups through texts from the Middle East, the Roman and Iranian empires, and the kingdoms of the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Ethiopia.
Richard Payne is an Associate Professor in the Humanities Division of the University of Chicago. A historian of the Iranian world in late antiquity, his research focuses primarily on the dynamics of Iranian imperialism, specifically how the Iranian (or Sasanian) Empire successfully integrated socially, culturally, and geographically disparate populations from Arabia to Afghanistan into enduring political networks and institutions. His recent book, A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity, explores the problem of religious diversity within the empire, showing how Syriac-writing Christians could create a place for themselves in a political culture not of their own making. He is currently involved in collaborative projects in Berlin, Paris, Buenos Aires, and New Delhi and teaches in the University of Chicago study abroad programs in Morocco, Turkey, and France.